Effect of genioglossus contraction on pharyngeal lumen and airflow in sleep apnoea patients

A. Oliven, N. Tov, L. Geitini, U. Steinfeld, R. Oliven, A. R. Schwartz, M. Odeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to quantify the mechanical effect of genioglossus stimulation on flow mechanics and pharyngeal cross-sectional area in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, and to identify variables that determine the magnitude of the respiratory effect of tongue protrusion. The pressure/flow and pressure/cross-sectional area relationships of the velo- and oropharynx were assessed in spontaneously breathing propofol-anaesthetised subjects before and during genioglossus stimulation. Genioglossus contraction decreased the critical pressure significantly from 1.2±3.3 to -0.7±3.8 cmH2O, with individual decreases ranging -0.6-5.9 cmH2O. Pharyngeal compliance was not affected by genioglossus contraction. The pharyngeal response to genioglossus stimulation was related to the magnitude of advancement of the posterior side of the tongue, but not to the severity of sleep apnoea, critical pressure, compliance or the shape and other characteristics of the velopharynx. Genioglossus contraction enlarges both the velo- and the oropharynx and lowers the critical pressure without affecting pharyngeal stiffness. The response to genioglossus stimulation depends upon the magnitude of tongue protrusion achieved rather than on inherent characteristics of the patient and their airway. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-758
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Genioglossus
  • Muscle
  • Pharynx
  • Sleep-disordered breathing
  • Upper airway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of genioglossus contraction on pharyngeal lumen and airflow in sleep apnoea patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this